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YouTube Trends Discussion | El Camp

YouTube Trends Discussion

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The 4As (American Association of Advertising Agencies) held an Open Session discussion this week at El Camp.

The discussion subject was “How YouTube reflects culture and the future of branded content.” The main speaker was Earnest Pettie. Ernest is a YouTube video trends analyst who spots what’s piquing viewer interest.

Earnest gave some great insight into current trends such as Celebrities becoming digital stars. An example of this being Will Smith’s meteoric resurgence in popularity as he has become more comfortable and familiar with social media. While the big money for stars may not be in YouTube videos, those videos keeping the celebrity relevant will pay off in their next big project. Viewers tend not to care what the media is, they just want to have that connection.

Cross-Cultural Communication is another trend. The “This is America” video from Childish Gambino was a huge success in the U.S., but it also sparked similar cultural videos throughout the world. Examples of “This is…” videos can be found from Malaysia, France, Jamaica and Nigeria among other places.

Cross-Cultural Conversations can also be had in video format. Earnest showed us examples of a series of videos called “Black in…” These show what it’s like to be black in other countries where black people are a much smaller minority. While many of the videos feature awkward moments, some have found opportunities to teach people and leave very favorable impressions. Imagine if you were the first person of any race to be introduced to someone who had never met anyone like you before. How you act will leave a lasting impression on that person.

Belonging Through Social Content. Sometimes people just don’t want to be alone in what they are doing. I was surprised to learn of the existence of “Study with me” videos. These are videos that just show people reading or doing homework. The peak viewing periods for these videos is around mid-terms and finals, so there must be plenty of people that use these videos to keep motivated during long study sessions.

Belonging doesn’t just belong to the study crowd. There are also videos that show people doing house work. Imagine watching someone vacuuming their home or washing dishes. These things really exist. I’m not passing judgement. Everyone needs to belong somewhere. Now I’ll have to go search for videos of someone blogging.


Big thanks to the 4As, YouTube and Google for having this talk with us.

And a special thanks to Earnest Pettie for a great presentation.


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